Venus & Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

Venus receives Mercury Retrograde

Venus conjoins Mercury Retrograde in her own home of Taurus this Friday, May 13.  Venus unifies, harmonizes, brings us pleasure, and in the earthy, body-centered lair of Taurus, she wants to delight our bodily forms and the deepest recesses of our sensory, sensual natures.  Mercury in astrology can destabilize, contest, and create volatility in contrast to the unifying nature of Venus, yet Mercury is also the connective mediator between the world animating spirit and our bodily, material realm.  With Mercury retrograde in Taurus, with Mercury recently having passed through a purifying conjunction with the Sun while conjoining its own heliocentric South Node, Mercury is pulling us deeply within our senses to the inner source of our thoughts and discernment.  If you are lucky enough to be in love in this moment, it is an ideal transit of pure pleasure.  If you are alone or dissatisfied in relationship, this is an ideal time for Self nurturance and getting in touch with your deepest feelings and needs in relationship.  By embracing being alone and out of relationship at this time, the inner process that is supported by this transit will help magnetize a deeply resonant relationship that aligns with the uncovered inner values and needs when the time is right.

This lovely transit of Mercury retrograde uniting with Venus in Taurus is embellished by it being in an exact trine with Pluto in Capricorn, and also in range of a trine to Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Mercury during its retrograde plays the role of the Herald to Hades, and so aligned with Venus will help release resistance to whatever cathartic changes Pluto in Capricorn has been calling for in our life that we have not yet answered with full presence.  In the next few days there is a lovely opportunity to accept the underlying changes in our life that in the past has created stress, worry, and grief, and instead allow ourselves to be present and open to what has been created for us in this moment out of the destruction.

remedios varo and husband

Remedios Varo

These lovely aspects surrounding Mercury uniting with Venus in her home are happening as the Moon waxes in light, en route to an electrifyingly dynamic Full Moon next week that is aligned with the heart of the current Mars Retrograde.  Furthermore, all of this is happening within the tightening of the tension involving Saturn in Sagittarius in square to the opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces.  With Mercury moving slowly backward in its retrograde, it will be lingering longer than normal in its embrace of Venus, and lucky Hermes is getting to enjoy the experience in the home of Venus.  Although many elements of our lives may feel scary with the degree of changes signified by the surrounding astrological transits, the commingling of Venus and Mercury now can facilitate inner access to the authentic change and growth occurring for you, rather than the collective fears of change circulating in the atmosphere now.

The ideal situation, as far as we can see, is when the ego, with a certain plasticity, obeys the central regulation of the psyche. But when it hardens and becomes autonomous, acting according to its own reasons, then there is often a neurotic constellation.  This happens not only to individuals, but also collectively, which is why we speak of collective neuroses and psychoses.  Whole groups of mankind can drift into that split situation and deviate from their basic instinctual patterns, and then disaster is close.  That is why in hero stories there is nearly always an exposition of a terrible situation . . . Whatever this terrible story is, the hero has the task of putting it right . . .

The hero, therefore, is the restorer of a healthy, conscious situation. He is the one ego that restores us to healthy, normal functioning in a situation in which all the egos of that tribe or nation are deviating from their instinctive, basic totality pattern.  It can therefore be said that the hero is an archetypal figure which presents a model of an ego functioning in accord with the Self.

—  Marie-Louise von Franz

References

von Franz, Marie-Louise. (1996). The Interpretation of Fairy Tales. Revised edition. Shambhala.

film clip from the film Alphaville: une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (1965) written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

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New Moon & Uranus in Aries

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Birth of a Galaxy (1969) by Max Ernst

The New Moon on April 7 is aligned with Uranus in Aries and animates the creative field within, inciting feelings and visions of the extraordinary life we wish to manifest.   This is the first lunar cycle to follow the deep dark purging and regeneration of the previous lunar month that began with an incredibly potent Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces and peaked with  a Lunar Eclipse in Libra.  One theme of the previous lunar cycle was dredging up old wounds, patterns, attachments, and karmic complexes in need of awareness and decomposition, creating a fertile matrix through which to reveal a brighter, more essential presence.  In contrast to the blackest black sourcing of the previous lunar cycle that held the cosmic seed of potential, this New Moon in Aries gives birth to a new lunar cycle awash in flames of fiery rhapsody.  Though there are fireworks embedded in this Aries New Moon, however, the lunar cycle that commences is filled with chthonic and constrictive forces in the form of both a Mars retrograde and Mercury retrograde that will initiate during the waxing and waning of our lunar sphere.

Uranus is known as a planet that corresponds with the great revolutions of humanity, a maverick transpersonal force correlating to electrifying, liberating, shocking, and traumatic experiences.  Uranus is an awakener, a force that goes beyond human sensitivities of what feels good and nurturing versus what feels scary and troubling.  In the end when working with Uranus, it is a matter of how much you feel alive and able to radiate your being into your surroundings more so than whether or not you have the material comforts and ideal relationships in your life.  It is possible to direct the vivifying, creative matrix of Uranus toward the matter and relationships you want to develop in your life, however, and this New Moon brings an ideal opportunity to set intentions for a radical vision of what can be manifested in life.

Uranus can be a liberating force, yet in the transpersonal, unconscious realm it activates we can also find ourselves acting in scenes and faced with choices that mirror past repetitive patterns.  The liberating potential Uranus brings is the possibility that we have broken free of our old mindset and can now make a radically different and supremely empowering choice.  With this in mind, consider that Uranus in Aries is now three degrees away from its square with Pluto in Capricorn as Pluto is beginning to station retrograde.  This New Moon conjoining Uranus as a result marks a turning point in the square between Uranus and Pluto that has dominated astrology for the past several years, as Uranus will now begin to slowly separate.  While the Pluto and Uranus square is still in orb and still in effect, this New Moon offers the opportunity to embrace the Uranian side of the equation and break free from Plutonic resistance to working toward a liberated vision of what life could be.

elective-affinities

Elective Affinities (1933) by Rene Magritte

Mars is the ruler of this New Moon in Aries, yet the primal yang nature of Mars is full of constriction and constraint since Mars is stationing retrograde in range of a conjunction with Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius.  Mars is going to barely move during the upcoming lunar cycle, and by the time the Moon waxes full Mars will be retrograde.  There is no way to fully know at this Aries New Moon what is to come in the upcoming Mars retrograde, and though it may lead to separation or loss from some current desires, this New Moon is a perfect time to gain clarity within the structure and pressure of Saturn for the core desires to forge in the fires of the pending Mars retrograde.

Mars is also in range of a square to Neptune in Pisces, while the Aries New Moon is in square with Pluto in Capricorn.  Furthermore, the Aries New Moon is in trine to Saturn in Sagittarius as Saturn’s retrograde movement is leading it backward toward squares with both Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces.  Mars direct yet deeply constrained in forward momentum lights an inner fire increasing in magnitude yet lacking a full release.  There is enormous potency felt, an intuition of incredible change on the horizon, yet it is a slowly simmering sense of something cooking and incubating rather than full ripeness ready for birth.

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The Cardinals are Dying (1962) by Max Ernst

Venus is in early Aries, the home of Mars, at the New Moon following a Dark Moon in Aries that occults Venus at the first degree of Aries.  Venus is applying to a first quarter trine with Mars in the blackness of the new lunation, further activating a fiery sense of purposeful potential to initiate.  Venus in Aries is a strong signifier for self-empowerment and interdependent empowerment of those we are in relationship with.  In the morning sky, Venus is still visible at the time of the Aries New Moon but on the brink of making a disappearance under the beams of the Sun.  During the upcoming lunar cycle Venus will become invisible within our solar rays, entering into a purification process that will last until the end of July 2016 when Venus reappears as an Evening Star.  This New Moon is ideal for opening to receive a message concerning expression and embodiment of your Venusian nature.

Mercury is now in Taurus, the home of Venus, where the winged messenger will reside for the next two months.  Mercury is now increasing in light as an Evening Star and in a phase that will facilitate integration of all of the old karmic material stirred up by the past lunar cycle of eclipses.  Mercury in Taurus can assist in developing grounded processes that can cultivate growth from a perspective focused upon long-term rewards rather than immediate gratification, yet Hermes in the home of Venus will also delight in sensual, hedonistic pleasure when given the opportunity.  Mercury will station retrograde at the end of April resulting in Mercury remaining in Taurus through June 12, yet the Evening Star phase occurring now is a unique part of the journey to savor.

In addition to Mercury gracing our sunset as an Evening Star, a magnificent omen appearing as the Sun falls below the horizon is Jupiter rising in the east in the tropical sign of Virgo and the constellation of the Lion.  Jupiter can now be watched in the sky all night long and offers himself as a wishing star for your grandest dreams and ambitions.

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3 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

The second face of Aries where the New Moon arises is associated with the Three of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  As the second decan of Aries holds the degrees of the exaltation of the Sun, we fittingly find a very solar image in this card of a proud figuring overlooking a numinous landscape from a mountainous peak.  There are ships heading off into the vast expanse beyond into other worlds for communication and commerce.  Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy ascribed an image made for nobility, loftiness of kingdom, and a great dominion to the second decan of Aries, and ancient texts are filled with the attribution of images linked to wealth, high rank, and rulership to this face.

The Sun as ruler of the second face of Aries is further strengthened by the Aries New Moon conjoining the exact degree of the Sun’s exaltation, enlivening the solar symbolism of this face and one’s capacity to vigorously initiate purposeful enterprises.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces described the focus of this face as being “the world which emanates from an individual” and “the qualities which they choose to embody” (p. 59).  Coppock wrote that the ability to create one’s own world found in this face leads to not only the attraction and magnetism of others of like-mind, but also to “the key to creating pocket realities which do not obey the laws of the collective reality field in which they exist” (p. 60).

With the New Moon conjoining Uranus, as well as in range of a conjunction with the paradigm bursting dwarf planet Eris, the opportunity found within the fiery electric aspects of this New Moon to manifest radical vision should be seized and not taken lightly.  Glory may fade, but in the fearless splendor of striving for our deepest desires despite the perpetual possibility of heartbreak we discover the sacred.  The ability to integrate the transpersonal, liberating, and shocking realm of Uranus into the creation of artistic worlds was described by Virginia Woolf in Moments of Being:

And so I go on to suppose that the shock-receiving capacity is what makes me a writer. I hazard the explanation that a shock is at once in my case followed by the desire to explain it. I feel that I have had a blow; but it is not, as I thought as a child, simply a blow from an enemy hidden behind the cotton wool of daily life; it is or will become a revelation of some order; it is a token of some real thing behind appearances; and I make it real by putting it into words.  It is only by putting it into words that I make it whole; this wholeness means that it has lost its power to hurt me; it gives me, perhaps because by doing so I take away the pain, a great delight to put the severed parts together.  Perhaps this is the strongest pleasure known to me.  It is the rapture I get when in writing I seem to be discovering what belongs to what; making a scene come right; making a character come together. From this I reach what I might call a philosophy; at any rate it is a constant idea of mine; that behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we-  I mean all human beings-  are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art.  Hamlet or a Beethoven quartet is the truth about this vast mass that we call the world. But there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven; certainly and emphatically there is no God; we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself.  And I see this when I have a shock.

— Virginia Woolf

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Woolf, Virginia. (1976). Moments of Being. Harcourt Brace & Company.

Pisces Solar Eclipse 2016

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courtesy of The New York Public Library

O you tender ones, step now and then
into the breath that takes no heed of you:
it will part as it brushes your cheeks
and then tremble behind you, united again.

O you who are blissful, you who are whole,
you who seem the beginnings of hearts.
Bows for arrows and arrows’ aim, through tears
your smile will glow more eternal.

Don’t be afraid to suffer- take your heaviness
and give it back to the earth’s own weight;
the mountains are heavy, the oceans are heavy.

Even the trees you planted as children
have long grown too heavy; you couldn’t bear them.
But the breezes . . . and the spaces . . .

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

In the darkness of change and loss, the shadow of what we consciously envision in the light of day, lies the void that sources our suffering and liberation.  When forces beyond our control overturn every aspect of our life, when what formerly held grounded security becomes flooded and dissolved in unconscious waves, we arrive in the moment.  In the morning waking up with a heart broken in the pang of death, grieving what has been sacrificed in the arising change, there remains the crisp scent of morning air tingling the skin with the sound of multitudinous birdsong heralding the dawn.  Some fall free fall into literal death, some resist and deny in delusion and addiction, while some fully aware of the suffering suffocating this world step bravely forward into the chaos with a heart open though overwhelmed by pain.  In the cavernous shifting that comes in March 2016 there is a necessary letting go.  In the release, in the ceaseless change of river currents, looms Saraswati riding her swan of the essential, communing with her peacock who devours venomous serpents and transmutes the poison into wisdom and art.

The Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces on March 8 has been deeply felt this past couple weeks, and as it arrives we will begin to sense its meaning that will reverberate far into the future.  Eclipses vary in intensity, normally happening four times a year, every six months, and though they are always more powerful than the regular New Moon or Full Moon, some are more potent than others.  This Pisces Solar Eclipse is of epic proportion, and the change that arises in its shadow can not be resisted.  The Solar Eclipse is total, less than three degrees away from the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, less than two degrees away from Chiron in Pisces.  Jupiter, the ruler of the eclipse, is conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo and is opposite the Solar Eclipse by less than one degree.   There is tremendous loss and letting go associated with these aspects, going into the gone beyond of the Heart Sutra, and yet if we enter fully into this darkness there is a realignment of personal truth and vision to be uncovered.

This Total Solar Eclipse is part of the saros series 130, with the last eclipses in the series being 26 February 1998,  16 February 1980, 5 February 1962, and 25 January 1944 (the series originated in the year 1096).  If you were alive for these previous Eclipses, it is worth the time to ponder the related events and if there are any links to the current moment.  Most importantly, investigate the location of 19 degrees of Pisces in your birth chart to discern the house location as well as the aspects made.  Whatever house the Eclipse is located in will be a place of release that creates an opening for a new beginning, and whatever aspects are made (focus on conjunctions, squares, oppositions, but also take in sextile and trines) will bring sweeping change to the associated meaning of the planet or chart calculation impacted.

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Michael Maier’s Emblem #14 from the Atalanta Fugiens

Solar Eclipses have been feared for millennia because of our great solar light becoming consumed by darkness.  Ancient sky watchers who interpreted celestial phenomenon as omens noted time and time again the tumultuous chaos and change that would erupt in accordance with the blackening of the Sun.  As astrologer Bernadette Brady has taught, astrologers across ancient cultures connected dragons with eclipses, viewing the solar or lunar light as becoming consumed by a monstrous serpent.  In ancient Babylon, it was Tiamat the sea dragon of chaos who inundated the world with disorder as she turned the Sun black.  Marduk, associated with the planet Jupiter in Babylon, helped restore order by severing the great sea serpent, an archetypal theme reiterated innumerably in myths cross-culturally.

Ancient astrologers also attempted to bring greater order by learning how to predict eclipses in order to communicate forewarning, and this is how the lunar nodes were originally discovered.  However, just because one can predict an eclipse, and further know how it will impact one’s birth chart, does not bring control and order to the energies that emerge at eclipses.  Some may fight against, resist, or attempt to control the confusing drama that dawns with a Total Solar Eclipse, yet even when extremely painful it is necessary to flow with the changes in order to realign with the actual developing reality. The modern hero adventure Harry Potter contained an apt metaphor as Harry, Hermione, and Ron did not slay the dragon, but instead freed the dragon and rode the dragon into their destiny.

The word eclipse is connected to the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun from our perspective on Earth.  Eclipses occur when a New Moon or Full Moon falls within range of the South Node or North Node of the Moon, as the nodes are the points of intersection in which the Moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic.  The South Node of the Moon marks the descending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic, and as a result is associated with past karma, the unconscious, and release, whereas the North Node of the Moon marks the ascending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic and symbolizes an arising point of conscious intake and evolution.  In a Total Solar Eclipse, the Moon crosses between our Earth and the Sun by zodiac degree and aligned with one of it’s own nodes, magically from our perspective appears as the same size as the Sun and blackens all light.  In keeping with the dragon symbolism of eclipses, the ascending North Node of the Moon became associated with the Head of the Dragon in astrology, while the descending South Node of the Moon became associated with the Tail of the Dragon.

Total Solar Eclipses are essentially the most powerful possible New Moons, yet there is clearly a significant difference between whether the Eclipse is aligned with the South Node of the Moon or the North Node of the Moon.  This Pisces Solar Eclipse is aligned with the South Node of the Moon, making its impact even more confusing in terms of making important decisions and holding previous plans together.  Solar Eclipses still carry the intention setting of the traditional New Moon, but a potent one like this Pisces Solar Eclipse has a strong pull toward clearing out the past in order to make space for the new. With Chiron and Ceres also conjoining the Solar Eclipse, it is likely something we had been securely holding that now needs to be released.

The lunar nodes and their symbolism as being the head and tail of a dragon are karmic significators in astrology, as what is consumed at the head is released at the tail, and what is carried in the tail fuels the desire of the head.  The Pisces Solar Eclipse being at the Tail of the Dragon magnetizes a release of built up energy, yet there is also a karmic element of doing so with compassion, giving rather than taking.  If the changes arising now feel hurtful and wounding, it is vital to compassionately nurture yourself and transmute the pain through selfless purification rather than egoic greed or anger.  With Ceres and Chiron connected to this Pisces Solar Eclipse, there is likely a huge, ancient wound of the psyche being triggered that could lead to unhealthy self destruction if not handled with care and love.

Though the South Node of the Moon in Pisces is linked to this Solar Eclipse, the North Node of the Moon is also activated because this Total Solar Eclipse is in the home of Jupiter, and Jupiter is tightly opposite the eclipse and conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  This brings Jupiter’s focus on stabilizing vision to the Dragon’s Head of the Solar Eclipse, a point of inrushing gain and desire in the material realm that can feel amplified and stormy.  In Evolutionary Astrology, Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon at this eclipse also signifies new choices to make on our path leading into the future unknown.  With Ceres, Chiron, and the Solar Eclipse in opposition to Jupiter, however, there is a wound that needs nurturing and it may be difficult to have faith and believe we can receive the help and healing we need.  This Solar Eclipse is almost exactly opposite the Virgo Solar Eclipse on September 13, 2015 that was aligned with the North Node of the Moon at the beginning of Libra.  Although not a total Solar Eclipse, since this September 2015 Eclipse was aligned with the North Node of the Moon you may find that elements of the desires you were pursuing forward at that time now need to be let go, as well as that the issues arising in September 2015 now shift directions or deepen in meaning.

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from Robert Fludd’s Ultriusque Cosmi (1617)

Since Jupiter is conjoining the North Node of the Moon and is also the traditional ruler of the Solar Eclipse, it is significant that Jupiter is in the home of Mercury and that transiting Mercury is conjoining Neptune in Pisces, the modern ruler of Pisces and this Solar Eclipse.  Mercury also being in Pisces while conjoining Neptune means that there is a throbbing oceanic wave of unconscious forces and extrasensory perception contained in this Total Solar Eclipse.  This can go along with a blissful plunge into the deep of the void, where there is blurry fogginess more so than clarity.  While the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces has been ongoing these past several months, the Solar Eclipse tips the scales in favor of Neptune as the Sun in Pisces is in square to Saturn and Mercury is applying to a conjunction with Neptune.  It may seem as if everything is dissolving, but it is also worth realizing if you can that this is only one point of a process that will be bringing far greater change than what is happening now.  Mercury in Pisces is attuned to inner Soul and the symbolic poetry of life, and so flowing into the shifting occurring now is favored more so than resisting the currents.

The Pisces Solar Eclipse also marks the entry of Mars into Sagittarius, where it will station retrograde a month from now.  Mercury in Pisces is separating from a square to Mars in Sagittarius at this Solar Eclipse, and though wide in orb the tension of its aspect is still in effect.  While Mars in Sagittarius may want to lustfully rush forward in self-centered vision, there are far deeper realizations signified by Mercury and Neptune in Pisces that will be needed to take into account.  As a result there is likely to be a lot of confusion centered around this Total Solar Eclipse, as the changes that seem to be overwhelming now most likely are not even the changes that are actually on the way and only one shift amongst a series of unexpected shifts.  If there is a goal or target you desire to focus on going forward, it will be necessary to remain open to the need to make adjustments to additional changes that will be on the way as Mars shifts into retrograde.  As Pisces is the home of Jupiter and the exaltation of Venus, the best we can do at this Solar Eclipse is to attune to our inner feelings and be open to the unknown.

Malevich black square

Kazimir Malevich (1915) Black Square

Saturn, the giant ringed planet of structure and boundaries, death and transcendence, is occupying a pivotal place as it is in square to the Pisces Solar Eclipse, in square to Jupiter in Virgo, in square to the lunar nodes, and in trine to Uranus in Aries.  This placement of Saturn significantly ramps up the karmic significance of this Solar Eclipse and the symbolism that whatever we need to let go of and pass away as the Sun turns black will become fecund fuel for our future.  The last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter will be building in intensity in the liminal space between this Pisces Solar Eclipse and the Libra Lunar Eclipse coming on March 23, as Saturn and Jupiter will reach their exact square on the same day as the Lunar Eclipse.  This is the second of three initiations into the last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter, the first having occurred at the beginning of August 2015 in alignment with the Venus retrograde.  The last quarter square brings about a crisis, and as it is occurring between Jupiter and Saturn it is about the very meaning we bring to our lives and discover about ourselves.  Dane Rudhyar called the last quarter square a “crisis in consciousness” because it forces a clearing out of beliefs that no longer serve us in order to bring about reorientation of meaning.  The third and final exact square between Saturn and Jupiter will be in May of 2016, and so there are more changes to come and it will be at least until then that we will be able to gain clarity for the coinciding shifts.

Since Saturn is in square to the lunar nodes and in trine to Uranus in Aries, there can be a sense of standing at a crossroads while receiving intimations of a liberated future path.  The Pisces Total Solar Eclipse is fully capable of overwhelming the dogmatic vision that can be linked to Saturn in Sagittarius, creating space for an entirely new way of approaching our life and trajectory going forward.  The shadow side of these aspects is on the side of Sagittarius crusaders and ideologues who will react defensively and narcissistically in the face of contention and change, provoking conflict over contesting beliefs.  The mix of hard aspects between Saturn with Jupiter, Neptune, and the Solar Eclipse in combination with the trine to Uranus in Aries can feel incredibly disruptive, yet can also force us to make the necessary change now that helps us to reorient most effectively to the shifting tides of our reality.

Profoundly, while Saturn is in trine to Uranus, Jupiter in Virgo is moving retrograde toward a trine with Pluto in Capricorn.  This means that the Pisces Solar Eclipse also connects to the massive Uranus and Pluto square that has been dominating astrology for the past several years and changing the underlying structures of our lives.  Furthermore, the Pisces Solar Eclipse, as well as Chiron and Ceres in Pisces, are all in sextile to Pluto in Capricorn.  For those who are suffering with the changes arising now, the harmonious aspects to both Pluto and Uranus present at this Eclipse signifies that things are beginning to change in ways that we cannot control and do not fully understand, but in the end will connect us to a more authentic, individuated, and liberated path.

Fludd light from black

from Robert Fludd’s Ultriusque Cosmi (1617)

Chiron and Ceres are not taken into account by many in astrology, but both are intimately linked to this Total Solar Eclipse.  The myths of both Chiron and Ceres time and time again reveal themselves to be resonant with the impact made by the astrological Chiron and Ceres, and this again seems to be the case at this Total Solar Eclipse.  Both Chiron and Ceres had to make sacrifices neither felt prepared for, and yet by opening to the release they each birthed monumental change.  In the story of Chiron, it is his willing sacrifice that leads to the liberation of Prometheus.  In the story of Ceres, it is her loss of Persephone as her constant companion that leads to Persephone assuming her vital role as Queen of the Underworld.

While outrage may overcome us with the changes occurring at this eclipse, and though we may feel we deserve to be angry, it will be most important to regenerate ourselves as Ceres did in river currents so we can regain our capacity to be productive and effect change in our surroundings. Ceres is an activator between the personal planets of Mars, Venus, and Mercury with the large gaseous planets of expansion and contraction, Jupiter and Saturn.  Ceres conjoining the Pisces Solar Eclipse thus brings up the importance of nurturing all of the wild passions and perceptions being stirred up by Mercury, Venus, and Mars.  Ceres can signify both abandonment and attachment issues, wounds at our core that can make it difficult to ground and make the choices that will bring opportunities for greater happiness, as well as have the capacity to receive the love and care being offered. As the realm of Jupiter and Saturn is entering into the crisis of their last quarter square, Ceres signifies the visceral importance of nurturing our body, mind, and desires.

Chiron is an activator from the realm of Jupiter and Saturn to the far beyond of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, and so the Pisces Solar Eclipse will include experiences that propel us into the transpersonal realm, creating the need to return to the mundane world while integrating our far out realizations. Chiron’s story in myth begins with abandonment and rejection, as the half human, half horse Chiron was seen as an abomination by his divine parents and left to raise himself in mountainous caves.  For many in the collective at this Total Solar Eclipse, issues of being rejected, of not being wanted, of not feeling seen or respected for our inherent value and intelligence could come up.  Chiron teaches the lesson of resiliently following our path no matter how unorthodox it may seem to others in the materialistic mainstream of society.  Chiron not only learned from the wisdom of the stars shining above and the green growth of nature below, but gave his teachings to others and nurtured the unique, undervalued gifts of his students.  This lesson of the Solar Eclipse can be found in the dialogue of the film Brother Sun Sister Moon about Saint Francis, when Clare calls out to Francis: “I am not seeking to be understood, I want to understand! I am not asking to be loved, I want to love!”

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9 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces II Decan

The second face of Pisces holds this Total Solar Eclipse, a decan associated with the 9 of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a rather smug and opulent man seemingly gloating in front of his carefully exhibited nine golden cups.  The 9 of Cups is often associated with wish fulfillment, enjoying pleasure, luxury, and satisfaction, and getting what we think we want.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Net” to the Pisces second decan, a face in which “the central conflict is how to reconcile one’s understanding of the true nature of reality with the world-as-it-is,” a “phase in which we are challenged to reconcile beliefs, ideals and the way things are” (p. 251).  Since Mercury is conjoining Neptune at the Solar Eclipse, the perception into underlying reality signified by their union is fitting for the meaning Coppock gave to the second decan of Pisces, as the Solar Eclipse will call us to integrate this depth of awareness into our daily life.

Jupiter rules the second face of Pisces, notable at this eclipse as Jupiter is receiving the eclipse through an opposition, is conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and is square to Saturn in Sagittarius.  Coppock illuminated in 36 Faces that the crux of this decan is that fulfillment can come from harmonizing one’s inner perceptions with one’s outer life, yet torment and grief will overcome those unable to harmonize their outer and inner worlds.  In the last quarter square between Jupiter and Saturn, Jupiter is in the superior position and receiving the karmic lessons of Saturn. Jupiter’s potent placement at the Solar Eclipse reveals that to access the fortune contained in the blackening of the Sun, we must flow like water in line with the cosmos above and the soul of the material world in the moment.  Attuning to where we are inwardly directed in the now, we can act with integrity and bridge our inner feelings and realizations with our external actions.

TotalSolarEclipseWRIGC2

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Sonnets to Orpheus. Translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

New Moon in Capricorn

MK Ciurlionis Capricorn

Capricorn (1907) by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis

New Moon in Capricorn

The New Moon in Capricorn on January 9, 2016 is fecund with the dark matter of Saturn.  Capricorn is an inwardly directed sign of initiating in the multitudinous manifestations of the earth element, the home of Saturn and its significations of structure, boundaries, determination, and transcendence.  This particular Capricorn New Moon draws us into internal depths with greater magnetism than normal, as the New Moon is conjunct Pluto in Capricorn at the same time Mercury retrograde is conjunct Pallas Athene in Capricorn.  We have the opportunity to sift through the desires behind our ambitions at this time, discerning where our motivations are coming from.  Are we attempting to control a situation or manipulate a circumstance in order to avoid taking responsibility for our own internal issues?  Or are we securely being accountable for our genuine feelings and past behavior that has led to our current moment- if so we can seize the darkness of this New Moon in order to clear out what is no longer serving us and envision empowering goals that lead toward a natural sense of power.

Saturn in Sagittarius, lord of this New Moon, is watching Venus separate by a degree at the time of the lunation.  As Venus is separating from Saturn, she is simultaneously applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries.  Uranus is further hooked into the New Moon by being in range of a square to both the New Moon and Pluto in Capricorn.  The past week of the waning Moon held numerous intense, confrontational astrological aspects that could have led to harsh judgment from others as well as self criticism.  By owning our part in the drama, and detaching from projected diatribes we are not responsible for, there is a fiery force found here that can liberate us out of past patterns of victimization.  In the shifting commerce of our collective, as old economic paradigms are falling apart, this New Moon activates awareness of how to find our place within the new business, political, and other societal models arising.

Though Saturn has begun to separate from its last quarter square to Neptune in Pisces (to return again months from now), this is our first New Moon since their square in which one of them is running the show. Since Saturn at center stage has been in the middle of great intensity, the Saturnine side of the square associated with boundaries, limits, structures, separation, and release is emphasized over the boundlessness of Neptune.  In combination with the fact that this New Moon is also activating the first quarter square between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, we could feel overwhelmed with conceptions around change, from worry that we will not be able to manifest the unknown future of our desires, to fear that circumstances are changing in undesirable ways that feel out of control.   As Saturn in Sagittarius is visionary, it is imperative to focus on what we want and formulate plans with awareness that determined effort is now required.  With Venus and Saturn in the domicile of Jupiter, and Jupiter closely conjoining the North Node of the Moon and in trine to the New Moon, despite difficulties there is underlying support for working hard with trust in the twists of fate to come.

Dore Gustave Pur_04

Ascesa by Gustave Dore, from The Divine Comedy

In the Face of Mountains

In spite of warnings from many astrologers not to initiate things during Mercury retrograde, this Capricorn New Moon contains an opening to an expansive new direction fraught with challenges requiring focused resilience.  Again, since the New Moon is separating from a square to Uranus in Aries and applying to a trine with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, the signs point toward breakthrough events, encounters, and corresponding insights that open us to new possibilities.  In addition, there is a stabilizing sextile present between the New Moon and Chiron in Pisces.  There is no doubt a looming mountain on our horizon to climb, yet the force we must generate to surmount forthcoming barriers will elevate our entire being to heightened ability to accomplish the tasks at hand.

Stirring things up further is Eris, as the dwarf planet named for the goddess of discord stations direct on January 10, 2016 at 22º18′ Aries, in range of a square to the Capricorn New Moon.   Eris is new to astrology and her meaning has not yet been fully established, so as she stations in square to this New Moon we can notice any correlations in our lives that seem connected. Up until now, most astrologers are applying the meaning of Eris in myth to her significance in astrology, with some such as Henry Seltzer adding in meaning of shattering paradigms and standing up for oneself with radical, harsh assertiveness.  Eris has been retrograde since July 20, 2015 when she stationed retrograde at 23º24′ Aries.  This is significant because the astrological atmosphere at the end of July was full of strife, with both Venus and Uranus also stationing retrograde then.  Eris stationing now will push us to stand up for ourselves and express our needs free of the past restrictions we have been discarding over the past five months.

Furthermore, with Mars at home in Scorpio there is amplified encouragement for expressing the full force of our desires, leading to potential conflict.  Mars is coming into a trine with Neptune in Pisces at the time of the New Moon, bringing an idealistic crusader element to the mix.  As Mars is also applying to a conjunction with Juno, this could enflame passions for better or worse in relationship.  The astrological aspects at this New Moon do not have much in the way of conflict mediation, so it will be vital to actively bear in mind the likelihood of discord breaking out.  The positive side of all of this can lead to an activation of our will force to be tenacious in pursuit of what we and our greater community need not only for survival but for enhancement of life.

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc (1879) by Jules Basiten-Lepage

Visioning by the Dark of the Moon

This Capricorn New Moon plays up the visioning side of Capricorn through Mercury being retrograde in Capricorn, in conjunction with Pallas Athene in Capricorn.  This upcoming lunar cycle takes us through the Mercury retrograde, as the forthcoming Full Moon in Leo will occur shortly before Mercury stations direct.  When we apply the old imagery of a sea goat to standard significations of Capricorn being associated with cardinal initiation, matters of earth, and Saturn, the image of a goat that has a mermaid tail dipped in the water goes well with the internal, divining quality also found in Capricorn.  The New Moon supports getting down at the root level of our surrounding structures, discerning the patterns at work in the various systems operating in our life.  Since Mercury is retrograde there may be omens found in unexpected places, and so an open mind willing to take creative leaps of thought can better receive messages associated with where to focus, what to modify, and which path to take forward.

There is also a connection between Mercury retrograde, this Capricorn New Moon, and Black Moon Lilith.  Astrologers enamored with Black Moon Lilith have been consumed by the mean calculation of Black Moon Lilith being in the middle of a square to Pluto in Capricorn and an opposition to Uranus in Aries.  However, this New Moon also carries a significant location of the true calculation of Black Moon Lilith to mind-  the true Black Moon Lilith is conjunct Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and in trine to Mercury retrograde in Capricorn. Simultaneously, the aspects made by these two locations of Black Moon Lilith suggest parts of ourselves with a history of feeling judged and ostracized have an opportunity to come out of exile and into the full scope of our personality.  This may feel awkward and even painful, and these exiled parts could be so deeply embedded within our soul that it feels as if they haven’t come out for lifetimes.  Mercury retrograde in Capricorn can help us peel off the layers of conditioning that have made us feel judged, with self acceptance being the balm.

pents03

3 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn II Decan

The second face of Capricorn where the New Moon emerges is ruled by Mars and associated with the 3 of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image of the 3 of Pentacles we see a highly skilled sculptor in process of creating a divinely inspired masterwork in a monastery.  There is a consultation taking place between the artisan and authorities associated with the institution, with carefully drawn plans for the masterpiece on display.  This is a fitting image for the Capricorn II decan as it is a face in which great works can be created through collaboration, careful planning, and incredible effort.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Pyramid” to the second decan of Capricorn, as it is a face in which the magnum opus is completed, sublime works of material manifestation whose perfect form almost appears inconceivable to create in hindsight.  Coppock wrote that as the focus of this face is on “structuring the territory itself,” there is a necessity for blueprints as well as hard work in collaboration with numerous resources:

For this phase of creation to proceed according to plan, laws must be carved and discipline enforced. The project, the vision, thus creates laws of action necessary for its proper realization. It is thus a face of discipline, for cathedrals, like the one pictured in the Three of Pentacles, are works whose construction spans entire decades …

This face is both a spur to action and a binding. While many bindings take the form of a forbiddance, the one which takes place here is instead a compulsion to act in accordance with the blueprint. This decan binds one, or many, to the accomplishment of a daunting task. Yet one must be careful tying oneself to great works, for such decisions have enduring consequences …

Yet ambition and hubris are not easily separated. The two often appear together, and without ambition there is no grand blueprint nor energy to execute it. Ambition must be distilled from hubris over and over again to achieve purity of purpose.  (p. 217)

Not only is Mars the ruler of this face, but the New Moon in Capricorn is also occurring in the exaltation of Mars.  Mars at the time of the New Moon is further strengthened by being at home in Scorpio and so in possession of its full arsenal.  As previously mentioned, now that Mars has separated from its square with Mercury stationing retrograde earlier this past week, Mars is now applying to a trine with Neptune in Pisces and a conjunction with Juno.  With the forthcoming waxing lunar cycle occurring with Mercury retrograde, this New Moon period is opportune for embarking on long term projects that will require sustaining effort and overcoming obstacles over an extended period of time, rather than work that needs to be rushed to completion.  The trine between the New Moon in Capricorn with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo suggests a door is opening to reveal a work objective worthy of our sustained effort and commitment.

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

 

 

Mercury Retrograde in Saturn’s Home

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Illustration for The Raven by Gustave Dore

Hermes I call, whom Fate decrees to dwell in the dire path which leads to deepest hell

O Bacchic Hermes, progeny divine of Dionysius, parent of the vine,
And of celestial Aphrodite Paphian queen, dark eye-lash’d Goddess of a lovely mien:
Who constant wand’rest thro’ the sacred feats
where hell’s dread empress, Persephone, retreats;
To wretched souls the leader of the way when Fate decrees, to regions void of day:
Thine is the wand which causes sleep to fly, or lulls to slumb’rous rest the weary eye;
For Persephone’s thro’ Tart’rus dark and wide gave thee forever flowing souls to guide.
Come, blessed pow’r the sacrifice attend, and grant our mystic works a happy end.

— Hermes Chthonian from The Orphic Hymns

Mercury Retrograde

When Mercury shifts retrograde our angelic trickster slips into his role as psychopomp, the guide of souls who can journey into the underworld and back again. On a personal level this coincides with a turn within toward awareness not as readily available when Mercury is moving direct, a process that can birth new presence and shed old habits as Mercury reemerges on the other side (Mercury will station direct on January 25 and leave the retrograde shadow zone on February 17).  Mercury retrograde is not a time to fear but rather an opening to symbolic perception that can divine messages within the darkness of our dreams as well as in the signs that appear during our sunlit daily journeying.  The Mercury retrograde that begins on January 5, 2016 initiates at the first degree of Aquarius, but spends the majority of the time in the second half of Capricorn.  Aquarius and Capricorn are both the homes of Saturn, and so this Mercury retrograde will be deeply linked with the significations we associate with that old devil, Saturn.  The link to Saturn is further intensified by Mercury crossing the South Node of Saturn while retrograde,and then returning to conjoin the South Node of Saturn again once moving direct.

Modern astrology gives the rulership of Aquarius to Uranus, and one result of this is to associate Aquarius with future-oriented, liberated forms of thought.  Yet this same meaning can be found through Aquarius being the diurnal home of Saturn, a place where Saturn detaches from the conditioned thought forms of consensus culture to develop systems of thought that break free from the constraints of the status quo.  Mercury free from other influences stationing retrograde in Aquarius would support reception of a message beyond self-centered subjectivity, in an objective and clarified mind frame detached from passions and able to rationalize feelings.  Yet instead the stationing of Mercury is painted in bold, impassioned colors by Mars in Scorpio forming an exact square at the time Mercury stations retrograde.  As Mars in Scorpio heats the emotional climate of Mercury stationing retrograde, our feelings could override our ability to be objective or communicate with restraint.  The eruption of cathartic feelings at the dawn of this retrograde will be borne by Mercury into our underworld for deep processing and purification.

The movement of Mercury from Aquarius back into Capricorn is united by both signs being the home of Saturn.  Mercury in the territory of Saturn can readily focus on systems and structures in our life, including rumination upon time and space.  Mercury stationing retrograde while bearing the water of Aquarius holds the promise of illumination that transcends our everyday conception of time, saturating our direct perception of the moment with lucidity.  As Mercury moves backward into Capricorn, goat horns protrude through the messenger’s head as the role of water bearer is released in order to invest fully into the surrounding material realm with its lusty nature.  In Capricorn, where Mercury spends the majority of its time this retrograde, Mercury shifts our focus toward achievement and ambition as well as the degree of determination and discipline that will be needed for manifestation.

In addition to entering the heart of the Sun while retrograde in Capricorn, Mercury will also form conjunctions with Pallas Athene and Pluto, and in fact will station direct conjoining Pluto.  Around the recent solstice Mercury was first conjunct Pallas Athene, and in the first week of its retrograde movement Mercury will again become conjunct with Pallas Athene in Capricorn.  Here the creative visioning of Pallas Athene combines with the symbolic perception of Mercury retrograde for penetrating perception into the structural and systematic foundations surrounding us.  In her classic Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George wrote:

Aesthetically, Pallas Athene is very strong in Capricorn representing the ability to formulate precise structures (molds) into which raw creative energy can coalesce.  Instant manifestation is often possible and can be seen as a magical process. Here, Pallas excels in the arts of architecture, drafting, and sculpture.  Capricorn’s association with time connects Pallas Athene with the art of timing- being in the right place at the right time.  Politically, this is a defender of law and order. There is a strong power drive for authority over others in political and social institutions.  The wisdom of Pallas in Capricorn is the wisdom of order- putting things in their proper sequence (p. 105).

The Sun in Capricorn is applying closely to a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn and square to Uranus in Aries when Mercury stations retrograde, and then in the weeks ahead after Mercury passes back across the face of the Sun, Mercury will eventually come into a square with Uranus in Aries and then will station direct in conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn.  As a result, this Mercury retrograde activates and re-triggers the first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus that has been dominating our astrological landscape for the past seven years, most exactly in the past four years.  As predicted the Pluto-Uranus square has correlated with seismic shifts around our planet, and so this Mercury retrograde is profound for reflecting upon the immensity of change that has passed through our lives.  Furthermore, it’s a potent period for reorienting our plans and structures in greater harmony with the insights we receive for how our world has been altered and continues to change.

Dore_Inferno1

Illustration for Dante’s Inferno by Gustave Dore

Does it really exist, Time the Destroyer?
When, on the peaceful mountain, does it crush the fortress?
And this heart, always the gods’ possession,
when does the Demiurge pillage it?

Are we really so anxiously brittle
as Fate would have us believe?
Is childhood, so deep, so rich with promise,
in the roots- later on- stilled?

Ah, the spectre of transience,
through the guilelessly receptive
it passes like wisps of smoke.

And we, with our driving, our striving,-
the abiding Strengths assume
that the gods have some need for us.

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury Stations Retrograde

Hermes is a god of boundaries, with a tradition of demarcating divisions between profane and sacred territory, between rural and urban landscapes, between the graveyards of the dead and the playgrounds of the living.  When Mercury stations retrograde, this normally swift planet gives off the appearance of putting down roots into solid stillness, and as it disappears with a flash of light at sunset there is a cosmic message transmitted.  As Mercury moves retrograde under the beams of the Sun it is not visible, and being in between our planet Earth and our fiery Sun it is symbolically considered to be journeying through our underworld.  Demetra George has connected Mercury retrograde with the work by Jungian Murray Stein on the borderline spaces we inhabit during transitions and gaps between conscious realities.  As Hermes is a god of thresholds and passages between realms, Demetra George has taught that the stationing of Mercury retrograde marks a liminal time in which we are separated from a clear sense of where we are, as Hermes guides us through a transition of an old identity dying and the emergence of a new sense of Self.

This Mercury retrograde primarily occurring in Capricorn introduces the Mercurial theme of the earth element in 2016, as the following two Mercury retrograde periods this year will also occur in the earth signs of Taurus and Virgo.  This brings to mind the unconscious symbolism of the forest as well as other oracular associations with soulful matter such as rocks, plants, and other elements of our natural world.  Capricorn is distinguished in part from the other earth signs through it being the home of Saturn, and the transiting Saturn in Sagittarius is fittingly forming some of the most significant astrological aspects during this Mercury retrograde.  Transiting Saturn being in Sagittarius colors Mercury’s time in Capricorn with a more strident, visionary vibration.  The last quarter square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces that has been an intense astrological factor over the past couple of months continues to be so during this Mercury retrograde, and in fact becomes all the more dramatic with the passage of Venus triggering their dynamic.

As Mercury stations retrograde, Venus is applying tightly to a square with Neptune, within minutes.  Venus is also four degrees away from Saturn in Sagittarius as Mercury stations, and as Mercury moves retrograde over the following week Venus will conjoin Saturn on January 8 at a Dark Moon in Capricorn.  The square between Venus and Neptune portends a crisis in our relationships, and as Venus is overcoming Neptune in the square while also approaching Saturn, the dreamy unconditional side of our feelings can be overcome by the conditions of circumstance in front of our face, what we feel are the cold hard facts of reality.  However, the square of Neptune in Pisces to Venus and Saturn combining in Sagittarius also reveals that there is a deeper and more far reaching truth to discern, such as the fact that what we are perceiving to be our reality is based more upon our current beliefs than actual reality.  While Saturn can bring up feelings of wanting to cut something off and separate, it is also true that Venus can soften up the old ringed devil for reconciliation.  At a higher potential, we can utilize these aspects during the Mercury retrograde to penetrate into our subjective feelings and perceptions and unveil a vaster conception of personal truth.

At the outset of Mercury stationing retrograde, with Mars in Scorpio in square to Mercury in Aquarius, we will want to keep in mind that disillusionment and feelings of disorientation are likely to come up in our relationships and that this amplified aspect between Mars and Mercury can erupt easily into bitter conflict.  While Mercury is in Aquarius, there is a risk that the detached side of Aquarius could combine with the fury of Mars at full force in Scorpio, resulting in explosive fights.  Yet the anger coming out in conflicts at this time has a source within, and it will be the task of this Mercury retrograde to journey within and explore the full ramifications of where these feelings are coming from.  It is important to realize that the feelings and thoughts dislodged at the beginning of this Mercury retrograde by Mars square Mercury, Venus and Saturn square Neptune among other things, is not the end of the story but merely the beginning.  Mercury will be journeying in the retrograde all the way back to unite with Pluto in Capricorn, and so there will be a vital message for us to receive about ourselves connected to the impassioned feelings provoked at the outset of this Mercury retrograde.

There is also the potential that we can rekindle passion from the Mars square in order to then harness corresponding desire to determined effort going forward.  Mercury retrograde in the home of Saturn will reward hard work and effort, and so the square from Mars to Mercury can jolt us into awareness of where we need to concentrate and work with full force.  This square between Mercury and Mars is even more intense as it is the second one to occur within the same week.  The first square in this cycle was on December 29, 2015 with Mercury at its maximum elongation as an Evening Star at 28° of Capricorn, and Mars at the same degree of Libra.  There is something hugely significant to find within this square between Mercury and Mars that will fuel our work in the year ahead.  Mars and Mercury will form their third square in the beginning of March 2016 with Mercury at the very end of Aquarius and Mars and the very end of Scorpio.  It may take until this later time a few months from now to fully come to terms with the work that will be involving this intense aspect between Mercury and Mars, and in the meantime we will need to persevere in the face of any daunting obstacles.

The other major astrological aspect occurring as Mercury stations retrograde is that a couple of days after Mercury stations retrograde, Jupiter in Virgo will also station retrograde closely conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  There is a powerful connection here with Mercury as the conjunction between Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon is occurring in Virgo. In fact, as Mercury moves retrograde into Capricorn this connection will intensify as Mercury will be receiving Jupiter through a trine.  With Mercury in the home of Saturn, Saturn in the home of Jupiter, and Jupiter in the home of Mercury during this retrograde, despite some of the otherwise challenging aspects there also appears to be a confluence of forces supporting us finding a vision for our life that will bring us a fulfilling sense of purpose.  Jupiter moving retrograde also brings an inner visioning in terms of reorienting toward a more authentic personal truth.  Jupiter was previously retrograde in Leo between early December 2014 and early April 2015 if you want to contemplate events associated with the prior Jupiter retrograde.  Jupiter will remain retrograde until the beginning of May 2016, at which time it will station direct in range of an opposition to Neptune in Pisces and a square with Saturn in Sagittarius.

mercury passing in front of the sun

Mercury Passing in Front of the Sun by Giacomo Balla (1914)

Only he who has also raised
his lyre among shadows
may find his way back
to infinite praise.

Only he who has eaten with the dead
from their stores of poppy
will never again lose
the softest chord.

And though the pool’s reflection
often blurs before us:
Know the image.

Only in the double realm
do the voices become
eternal and mild.

–Rainer Maria Rile from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury into the Sun

Mercury’s inferior conjunction occurs when Mercury retrograde reaches the same zodiac degree as the Sun, and as Mercury during its retrograde is passing between our Earth and Sun, I am part of the astrological community who interprets this as being similar to a New Mercury.  This is a moment of cazimi, in which Mercury is reborn in the radiance of our solar light, regenerated and purified within the golden rays of the fiery Sun.  On a personal level, this is a moment of new conception regarding the significations of Mercury within our life, and a powerful moment within to attune to an oracular message we may receive.  In Pacific standard time, this magical Mercury moment occurs at 6:05 am on January 14, 2016, while in the Central European time zone this will occur at 3:05 pm on January 14.

Mercury and the Sun will be at 23º50′ tightly in trine with Jupiter in Virgo at 23º10′ and the true North Node of the Moon in Virgo at 23º30′.  Amazingly, the waxing crescent Moon at the moment of Mercury cazimi is at 22º30′ of Pisces, closely applying to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon, a sextile with the Mercury and Sun conjunction, and an opposition to Jupiter in Virgo.   These aspects are remarkably suggestive of the interpretation that Dane Rudhyar gave to the Crescent Moon as fighting off the ghosts of the past, as there is an activation of past patterns of awareness at the same time we sense new choices and opportunities linked to a reborn vision of meaning.  While we may feel a pull back toward the normalcy of old patterns, we can consciously with determination propel ourselves into the unknown with faith despite the fears arising that we will not have what we need to be successful in the new direction.  The close trine between Mercury conjoining the Sun and Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon indicates that we will in fact be able to access the resources we need to successfully transition in the new, unfamiliar direction.

In addition, the inferior conjunction of Mercury will be almost exactly conjunct the geocentric South Node of Saturn, and a few degrees away from a conjunction with the geocentric South Node of Pluto.  This intensifies the connection of this Mercury retrograde cycle with the full archetypal arcs of both Saturn and Pluto.  In evolutionary astrology, Jeff Green teaches that the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto being in Capricorn symbolizes the vast shadow cast by the patriarchal paradigm that seized power from a matriarchal collective ages ago.  Mercury retrograde united with the Sun at the South Node of Saturn suggests penetrating insight into the foundation of the structural systems surrounding us will be available.  It also portends we can discern how our behavior in the moment has been conditioned by the vast history of hierarchical power structures vying for power, control, and dominance.

Finally, there are additional indications that Venus is demanding attention from us during this Mercury retrograde, and that the retrograde commencing with a tight square between Venus and Neptune is a sign that we have a deep message regarding our Venusian nature to uncover.  At the time of Mercury’s inferior conjunction, Venus in Sagittarius is separating from a trine with Uranus in Aries and applying to a square with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, as well as a square with the Moon in Pisces and the South Node of the Moon.  Well, we’re always focused on Venus and looking for messages about her, right?  Nonetheless, Venus is holding aspects suggestive of being at a crossroads at the time of this Mercury inferior conjunction, and as she will be received by Jupiter it is yet another sign of the Jupiter conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo being a beacon of light leading us out of the Mercurial underworld.

Dore Gustave Inferno_Canto_1_spirit_guide

Virgil leads Dante by Gustave Dore, from the Divine Comedy

We puzzle over flower, vine-leaf, fruit.
They speak not just the language of the year.
A thing of succor rises from the dark
and its hues may gleam with the jealousy

of the dead, those who strengthen the earth.
What do we know of their share in it?
It has long been their practice to enrich
the loam with their own free marrow.

The question is: do they do it willingly? . . .
Does this fruit, a work of sullen slaves,
push through clenched to us, to their masters?

Or are they the masters, sleeping among
the roots and granting us from their profusion
this hybrid of mute strength and kisses?

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury Stations Direct

Mercury ultimately will station direct on January 25, 2016 at 14º55′ of Capricorn, closely conjoining Pluto at 15º54′ of Capricorn.  As Mercury appears to stand still when stationing, this means we will have an extended period of Mercury and Pluto being a degree apart (roughly January 21 – February 1, 2016).  On January 20 when the Sun ingresses into Aquarius, Mercury retrograde will also form an exact square with Uranus in Aries, and Mercury will still be in range of a square to Uranus when it finally stations direct.  There is deep reckoning to be found in this stationing direct of Mercury, much more so than normal as it is intimately bound to the influence of the Pluto-Uranus square.  This may or may not be a pleasant time depending upon your circumstances, but there is no doubt that an aspect of your ineffable soul will be available to perceive.  Whether you are able to schedule some downtime for yourself or whether you will be forced to be engaged in numerous intense activities, there is immense catharsis found in these aspects surrounding Mercury stationing direct.  There is also a harmonious sextile formed between Mars in Scorpio with the stationing Mercury in Capricorn, suggesting that a level of resolution could be reached concerning whatever was stirred up by Mars being square to Mercury at the beginning of the retrograde.

Adding to the vast depth of this time is that Mercury will be stationing direct closely conjoining the geocentric South Node of Jupiter, and also a couple of degrees away from a conjunction with its own geocentric South Node of Mercury.  This is yet another potent activation of the Jupiter archetype during this Mercury retrograde, and points toward Jupiter taking on the role of a guiding shepherd.  As Mercury begins to move direct again as an explorative Morning Star, it will once again begin applying to a trine with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Those who have been working hard with due diligence and determination during the Mercury retrograde will be rewarded during this final period of Jupiter in Virgo receiving Mercury in Capricorn through a trine.  By willingly descending into underworld darkness during the Mercury retrograde, we will reascend nourished by a regenerated vision of life focused upon our essential fulfillment.

References

George, Demetra with Bloch, Douglas. (1986). Asteroid Goddesses. ACS.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Sonnets to Orpheus. Translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

Full Moon in Cancer

full moon chinese

Full Moon by Tao Lengyue

Cancer Full Moon

The Full Moon in Cancer on December 25, 2015 occurs on the same day that Uranus in Aries stations direct.  It is also the Full Moon that falls equidistant between Lunar Eclipses, in square to both:  the total Lunar Eclipse in Aries at 4°38′ that happened September 28, 2015 and the annular Lunar Eclipse in Libra at 3°10′ that will happen on March 23, 2016. There is as a result an electrified quality to this Full Moon that reopens past memories for reprocessing whether you are alone or in a holiday gathering.  As we grow older we realize that the story we tell about our life changes across time.  Our past is not bound in a fixed form but rather is as fluid in fluctuation as this present, passing moment.  Uranus stationing direct at this Cancer Full Moon can break us out of a perspective regarding our life we had managed to convince ourselves was an unchanging truth.  Feeling into our emotional bodies in the full light of this lunation, there is something to be found that metamorphoses our viewpoint regarding our past and our trajectory forward, a deeper quality of soul to embody within the vehicle of our body.

In our Northern Hemisphere December 25 is a day in which our Sun is beginning to increase in light, and so there is a loveliness in celebrating the return of light with a Cancer Full Moon.  Cancer is the home of the Moon, and so this Full Moon has a potent pull to draw us into our emotional body and the full range of feeling we are receiving.  The reflection of our Sun’s light by our Moon signifies our moment to moment consciousness and awareness, for in the waxing and waning lunar cycle we correspondingly experience the creation and destruction of our thoughts and emotions.  In a catalytic astrological atmosphere such as today, many are coping with their fear over the dismantling of systems they had believed to be secure by fixating on perceptions and beliefs that bring a feeling of comforting control.  This changes the nature of thoughts and feelings from being fluid into a frozen bedrock anchoring repetitive personal patterns.

Uranus is here now to strike and shatter whatever has become overly hardened and crystallized.  When Uranus stations following the Full Moon, it will be close to an exact square with Pluto in Capricorn and will reignite the issues related to the square between Pluto and Uranus that have been dominating astrology for the past seven years.  Uranus stationing direct brings content forward into conscious awareness much farther back than seven years, however, so much so that memories that feel like they have been buried for lifetimes could erupt from within.  This doesn’t mean that everything is going to change overnight in a liberating reverie of Uranus, or that everything will be transformed in a regenerative matrix of Pluto.  It does mean that this Full Moon is shining light into the deepest reaches of our ineffable darkness within, and here we may find buried treasure.

In addition to being the domicile of the Moon, Cancer is a sign signifying mothers and the womb that gave birth to all of us, family, ancestors, the vulnerability of our raw emotions, and the protective shell we utilize to shield our feelings from being wounded.  Being a Full Moon, of course this means the Sun is in the polarity place of Capricorn, the home of Saturn.   Pluto is also in the home of Saturn, and Saturn meanwhile is engaged in square with Neptune that amplifies the dissonance of the square between Pluto and Uranus.  Considering all of the associated calamity that can go with the pairs of Pluto-Uranus and Neptune-Saturn being in hard aspects, there is grace to be found through this Cancer Full Moon applying to a trine with Neptune in Pisces.  Just like Uranus is shattering the structure of Pluto, Neptune has been dissolving the boundaries of Saturn, and so this Cancer Full Moon could correlate with messages from beyond appearing through the realm of family and our ancestors.

Hiroshige,_New_Year's_Eve_foxfires_at_the_changing_tree,_Oji,_1857

Hiroshige (1857) New Year’s Eve foxfires at the changing tree

There is in fact a Grand Water Trine found in this Full Moon through the Moon in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces, and Juno conjoining the true location of Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio.  The corner of this triangle held by Juno and Black Moon Lilith is rich to contemplate, a fertile field of deep emotions concerning our past and present relationships and times we have felt oppressed, misunderstood, cast out, and projected upon.  Yet this Juno, Black Moon Lilith point is also full of desire for burning, shared intimacy with a partner willing to accept us and commit to working to understand us.  As we know, the wounds of our childhood oftentimes resurface in our adult relationships and repetitive relational projections and patterns we engage in.  This Full Moon holds potential for tapping into our feelings regarding old wounds and a sense of how they impact our current relational behavior.

Uranus stationing direct in Aries holds numerous aspects activating the themes of this Grand Water Trine, as Uranus is in range of an opposition to the mean (averaged) location of Black Moon Lilith while Saturn in Sagittarius is beginning to enter into range of a trine with Uranus (this Saturn-Uranus trine will become one of the major themes in 2016 eventually).  Furthermore, Mars in Libra is separating from an opposition with Uranus, while Mercury in Capricorn is separating from a  square with Uranus.  These aspects are all potent for activating a vital aspect of our essential nature demanding attention and actualization.  As a result, we will have strong feelings of wanting this essentiality acknowledged by others and so it will be most helpful to have creative outlets available to transmit the energy through.  If overcome by frustration of not being in a position to fully gain or express what you desire, work to find smaller scale steps and situations to get things moving.

While Mars and Mercury are both separating from hard aspects with Uranus at the time of the Full Moon, Mercury in Capricorn is applying to a square with Mars in Libra that further intensifies the atmosphere with potential conflict.  While it is possible the square between Mars and Mercury will correlate with arguments and heated rhetoric, it is also an ideal aspect for initiating projects that will require hard work, focused concentration, and collaboration with others.  There may be some clashes with others to work through when going after what we desire, but this first quarter square between Mars and Mercury supports planning and developing the structures we will need to have in place to work through any difficulties that could arise.

Hiroshige_100_views_edo_107

Utagawa Hiroshige (1856) 100 Views of Edo, no. 107, part 4, Winter

There is in fact a long range vision that can be accessed at this Cancer Full Moon through a stabilizing trine between Mercury in Capricorn with the conjunction of Jupiter in Virgo with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Mercury in Capricorn is an evening star that is in position to synthesize the extraordinary vision that can be activated through Jupiter uniting with the North Node of the Moon in the home and exaltation of Mercury.  Mercury is also now within its retrograde shadow zone, and in a couple of weeks on January 5, 2016 during the waning lunar cycle Mercury will station retrograde.   As a result of the upcoming Mercury retrograde cycle, this is the first of three trines we will experience between Mercury in Capricorn with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo in the next month and a half.  Pay attention to the messages you receive at this Full Moon as they can help you begin to get a sense of the new sense of meaning you can develop during this upcoming harmonious period between Mercury and Jupiter.

The supportive, stabilizing trine between Mercury and Jupiter at this Cancer Full Moon is further accentuated through both Mercury and Jupiter being in a sextile with Venus in Scorpio.  Venus in Scorpio is willing to be brutally honest if necessary to get to the bottom line dynamics of whatever relationships we are engaged with at this Full Moon, yet the harmonious sextile Venus forms with Mercury and Jupiter at this time suggests there will be a way to communicate in a manner that will facilitate our partner listening to us rather than dismissing us from a place of defensiveness.  These aspects are also supportive for going within and intuitively feeling and envisioning from a place beyond the types of consensus beliefs and morality that repress our ability to create the life we want to live.

Astrologer Jeff Green, who was born with Venus retrograde in Scorpio conjoining his ascendant, wrote in his second Pluto book that Venus in Scorpio individuals radiate an aura “analogous to the eye of the eagle,” as they are “uniquely structured to have the ability to focus on the large picture while at the same time telescopically zooming in on its point of focus” (p. 161).  If we work with what Venus in Scorpio is offering through her sextile with Mercury, Jupiter, and the North Node of the Moon, and trine with the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, we can feel within our inner core all of the accumulated past wounds and desires that have created the various relationship projections we have been making, as well as discern the choices and relationships to focus on moving forward.  Venus in Scorpio can enflame intense focus on an object of desire, but also making the time to sit with and heal our past wounding will enable us to create healthier, mutually empowering relationships that will support us going after whatever is in alignment with our evolving sense of growth.

2 of cups by pixie

2 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer I Decan

The Full Moon falls in the first face of Cancer, a decan associated with the Two of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we find two lovers coming together with shared passion on an equal level, with a kundalini caduceus of intertwining snakes and a winged lion arising in the space between their merging desire.   Fittingly for the erotic energy found in the symbolism of this image, the first face of Cancer is ruled by Venus.  Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche, but rather on a deeper level Venus signifies the inner values and needs that source all of our relationship dynamics with others.

Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans entitled 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Mother and Child” to the Cancer I decan, as he wrote that the face holds the hungers of our emotions and biology, the womb that gives birth to us and all of our resulting needs.  Coppock analyzed that we find both the nurturing mother in the first face of Cancer as well as the childless, protective figure of Artemis and the principle that as the Moon waxes she gives but as she wanes she takes away. Coppock further connected the themes of mother and child to the pursuit of romantic love found in the Two of Cups since “it is the perfect support, half-remembered from the womb, that gives rise to the human dream of similarly nursing bonds between committed partners” (p. 104):

Though thoroughly romanticized, the actual dynamic entailed herein is a mixture of hunger and sweetness.  Love and need blend together here.  Yet there is an alchemy, for the energy circulates between the two participants.  It is as if the two reside in each other’s wombs, simultaneously devouring and being devoured, yet neither is depleted.  It is this miracle of entwined vessels that many long for when they dream of the love that will save and strengthen them.  The possibility of this manner of union can be seen in this decan, yet success in this matter requires more than longing  (p.105).

Venus in Scorpio is in a whole sign trine to this Full Moon in Cancer, and as the Moon begins to wane through the sign of Cancer it will form an exact trine with Venus.  The more we can move away from a compulsive, Scorpio need of Venus to consume and control our relationships and open to feelings focused on understanding our relationships and supporting them with what they need for their own development, the more we can open to the potential available with this Full Moon to develop and deepen the relationships that can become mutually empowering, encouraging, and nourishing.

With Uranus stationing direct in Aries, be ready to receive sudden insight into the relationships you have engaged in across your lifetime, including with family, friends, and romantic partners, and the myriad ways in which the associated needs, desires, and issues created various relationship patterns you became attached to repeating.  With awareness and being willing to stay present with these feelings, we can create a shift away from old, outworn patterns toward new opportunities for growth seen through the sextile between Venus in Scorpio with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29 (translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

References:

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Green, Jeffrey Wolf. (2009). Pluto Volume II: The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships. The Wessex Astrologer.

Capricorn Solstice 2015

Delaunay simultaneous contrast

Simultaneous Contrasts: Sun and Moon by Robert Delaunay (1912)

SOLSTICE

Merry Solstice to one and all.  The Solstice in the sign of Capricorn on December 21 or December 22 (depending upon your time zone) supports fine tuning the forms we have been developing and launching forward with our work into a dramatic year of change. For those living in the Southern Hemisphere of our planet, this is the Summer Solstice of peak solar light, while for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere we are at the darkest time of the year in which we welcome the first glimmer of a returning Sun.  From the Northern Hemisphere perspective of this being the darkest and most fertile time, many consider the Capricorn Solstice chart to be paramount in terms of casting a gaze ahead at the coming year.   Last year at this time there was truly a dark Solstice as a New Moon happened on the same day-  now a year later, we will have a waxing gibbous Moon in Taurus gracing our night with bright light.

The waxing gibbous Moon at this Solstice symbolically resonates with a budding that promises a full blooming according to the lunation cycle developed by Dane Rudhyar. This symbolism of a flower bud is accentuated by the Moon being in the sign of Taurus, the exaltation of the Moon, lending a grounded quality able to evaluate the structures we have set in motion and discern if there are any parts in need of restructuring.  Acting harmoniously with a gibbous Moon means gathering together the tools and resources we need for the coming grand opening of meaning, making the necessary arrangements that will allow us to effectively express the burgeoning meaning we are discovering into forms that will be functional.  The Moon in Taurus at the Solstice is applying to a trine with Mercury in Capricorn and Jupiter in Virgo, and so supports discovering how to successfully integrate our work and vision into a wider community so as to be useful for others.

The Taurus Moon is additionally in range of a trine to the North Node of the Moon in Virgo as well as Pluto in Capricorn, and so there is a valuable aspect of our soul we can uncover by probing into the darkness of our depths at this Solstice time.  With the Moon in stabilizing aspects with both the North Node and Jupiter as well as Mercury (the ruler of the transiting North Node), this Solstice supports us discerning not only the expansive opportunities on our horizon but the ability to make new choices that propel us forward into a new direction.

The Taurus Moon of the Solstice does involve some more challenging, catalytic aspects, as it is also applying to an opposition with Venus in Scorpio and separating from a square to Ceres in Aquarius.  This t-square involves the three most pre-eminent feminine symbols for archetypes we use in Western astrology, and connects well with the concept of our sacred feminine giving birth at the time of Solstice.  While a Taurus Moon supports the idea of turning inward into our core to incubate within the protective sphere of our own meaning and values, the opposition to Venus in Scorpio amplifies the polarity of being open to sharing our most intimate feelings with our beloved, being open to merging our resources with others, and being drawn into exploring the hidden recesses of other people and any circumstance we find ourselves within.

Ceres in Aquarius is a vital piece of this arrangement to consider, and she has a stabilizing influence through a sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius and a sextile with Uranus in Aries.  Ceres here holds the potential to activate humanitarian concerns related to the highest good in any situation, outside of consensus conditioning.  However, much depends upon where individual awareness is situated, for in this astrological climate Ceres could be acting from a wounded place of fear or from a wounded place that has transcended fear and re-centered in a heartfelt place of love for the full ramification of our challenging life.  In the story of Ceres from myth, the Goddess reacts to the loss of her daughter initially by refusing to share her gifts with the world, yet by the end of a process of suffering she opens to a new sense of spiritual understanding and love.  Since Ceres is in a t-square with both Venus and the Moon at the Solstice, it highlights the significance of Ceres applying closely to a sextile with Uranus stationing direct in Aries.

Picasso Francoise as the Sun

Francoise as the Sun by Pablo Picasso (1946)

Uranus in Aries stations four days after the Solstice and so its stationing influence on the Solstice is one of the most important aspects to take into account.  When any planet stations it casts a shadow over the amalgam of astrology aspects simultaneously unfolding, and this is especially the case with a paradigm shattering planet such as Uranus stationing direct in the exaltation of the Sun.  Uranus last stationed retrograde at 20°30′ of Aries around July 26, a day after Venus stationed retrograde.  As a result this past period of Uranus retrograde took us through the Venus retrograde in Leo, two eclipses, Mercury retrograde in Libra, and the initiation of the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces.  Our feelings and experiences from this time period will be especially pertinent to Uranus stationing now, but a Uranus stationing can pull memory from the farthest reaches of memory imaginable.

Uranus stations direct at 16º33′ of Aries, and so if you have anything prominent in your chart configured to this degree by aspect you could experience one of those moments that suddenly and surely alters your perception for good.  Insights from Uranus can strike seemingly from anywhere, in the middle of a chaotic crescendo or in the quiet whispers of contemplation.  The mind altering component consistent to Uranus stationing is a time warp of past and present morphing so that our perspective of our past changes irrevocably, sending emancipatory waves of thought into our present moment.  While there may be pain and grief associated with the breakthrough, in the end there is liberating freedom to be found in the shattering of fixed structures of our past.

Uranus in Aries is still in range of a square to Pluto in Capricorn, and as Mars in Libra is separating from its opposition with Uranus at the time of the Solstice, Saturn in Sagittarius is beginning to apply to a trine with Uranus in Aries that will be one of the most vital aspects of the coming year.  Mercury in Capricorn is also separating from a square with Uranus in Aries and applying to a square with Mars in Libra, reconnecting the tension of the recent opposition between Mars and Uranus.  Thus, while Mars is clearly separating from its stormy aspects with Pluto and Uranus at the time of the Solstice, Mercury moving from a square to Uranus into a square with Mars suggests a volatile atmosphere for the stationing of Uranus.  This is how Uranus rolls, so be ready for a shake-up that will make you look at your life in a completely different way.

Delaunay_Windows_Open_Simultaneously_1st_Part,_3rd_Motif

Windows Open Simultaneously 1st Part, 3rd Motif by Robert Delaunay (1912)

Two of the most prominent aspects of the Solstice chart are also two of the most prominent omens for the coming year:  the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces, and the conjunction of Jupiter in Virgo with the North Node of the Moon.  Jupiter and the North Node will be in range of a conjunction through July 2016, and Saturn and Neptune will be moving out of their square aspect in November 2016.  Though Jupiter is not in range of a square to Saturn at the time of the Solstice, Jupiter will be entering into a square with Saturn in March 2016 and eventually will come into range of a wide opposition with Neptune while simultaneously being in a square with Saturn.

Weaving all this together, the Solstice chart involves the pivotal tumult signified by Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune being in hard, change-oriented aspects while also being in mutable signs that further signify deep shifting.  Within all of this being stirred up now, many are clinging tightly to past belief systems for a sense of security in changing circumstances that feel frightening to those who are intent on maintaining the status quo.  While the concept of “illusion” is often applied to Neptune, Saturn can also be full of illusion in the sense of people becoming convinced that a belief system, a way to structure their reality, is in line with an ultimate truth when in reality there is a far vaster truth signified by Neptune that is actually going on. This Solstice is truly a powerful moment of rebirth in perspective for all those willing to dive in and reorient their sense of truth and meaning in the shattering of systems occurring on our planet today.

Ernst forest and sun

Forest and Sun (1930) by Max Ernst

Finally, there are numerous aspects in the Solstice chart centering around Mercury in Capricorn that suggest we are in a moment of rebirthing our vision through entering an underworld journey.  Mercury is separating from a conjunction with Pluto while applying to a conjunction with Pallas Athene in Capricorn, and also applying to a square with Mars in Libra.  Mercury is now a sage Evening Star capable of helping us synthesize meaning from all of the volatility of this time, and while conjoining Pallas Athene lends itself a visionary component that can connect patterns and weave together significant insights.  Mercury is also now in its retrograde shadow zone, and will ultimately station retrograde in January at the beginning of Aquarius in square to Mars in Scorpio.  Mercury will then turn retrograde back to another conjunction with Pallas Athene and eventually will station direct conjunct Pluto in Capricorn.  With Mercury in the home of Saturn, Saturn in the home of Jupiter, and Jupiter in the home of Mercury, the underworld trek Mercury will be guiding us into will help us discern the bottom-line roots of the desires and conflicts we are consciously aware of at this Solstice, igniting inner vision.

In the year ahead, all of the Mercury retrograde periods will involve the Earth element and important aspects to Pluto and Jupiter also in Earth signs.  In May 2016 when Mercury goes retrograde in Taurus, it will station direct in trine to Pluto in Capricorn and Jupiter in Virgo.  During the following Mercury retrograde in Virgo, Mercury will station retrograde at the end of August 2016 conjoining Jupiter in Virgo, moving backward to again station direct in trine to Pluto in Capricorn.  Thus while Mercury is separating from a conjunction with Pluto at the time of this Solstice, Mercury and Pluto will be in cahoots for the entire year ahead and brokering new deals on a soul level. This Solstice portends a year of following through on plans to build solid growth, attending to the needs of our bodies, and moving forward in the material realm to more deeply establish ourselves in the role we will be playing in the great drama erupting in our collective.

Furthermore, the square beginning to form now between Mercury and Mars, with Mercury in the home of Saturn, is a call demanding hard work, perseverance, and a relentless focus on the dreams and visions we wish to manifest in the coming year.  Mars will going retrograde in Sagittarius and Scorpio later in 2016, and there will be a strong resonance between the Mercury retrograde in Taurus and the Mars retrograde in Scorpio later in May 2016.  Furthermore, in the Mercury retrograde in Virgo that will happen in September 2016, Mercury retrograde in Virgo will be square to Mars moving direct in Sagittarius.  We often associate Mars in a square to Mercury with arguments, anger, diatribes, and bitter conflicts, and it is a guarantee that in our collective the hateful rhetoric happening today at this Solstice will continue.  Yet on a personal level, we can seize the explosive energy that will erupt from Mercury in square to Mars in order to apply its heat to a fusion of our body, mind, and spirit activated in determined effort.  In the destruction of form we will witness around us in the coming season, there is at the same time extraordinary creative effort we will be able to birth from within.

“Apparently the power to establish order, which ranks among the most inexorable strengths of artistic creation, is summoned most insistently by two interior states: by one’s awareness of abundance and by the utter collapse within a human being, which, after all, yields yet another abundance.”

“What ruthless magnificence and yet how terrible to ignite love:  what conflagration, what disaster, what doom.  To be on fire yourself, of course, if one is capable of it:  that may well be worth life and death.”

“To be loved means to be ablaze. To love is: to cast light with inexorable oil. To be loved is to pass away; to love is to last.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters on Life

 

Solstice12-21-2015WRIGC2B

References:

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2006). Letters on Life: New Prose Translations. Edited and translated by Ulrich Baer. The Modern Library Classics.

 

New Moon in Scorpio

New Moon in Scorpio

Night Creatures (1965) by Lee Krasner

Scorpio New Moon

The New Moon in Scorpio on November 11, 2015 envelopes the setting of intention within the deep waters of Scorpio.  Scorpio is the home of Mars, also associated by modern astrologers with Pluto and the soulful source of our desires.  A Scorpio New Moon compels us to dive into desire and feel the whettening of appetite for that which enflames our passion from within.  Scorpio is a fixed sign, and though Scorpio holds potential for transformation at a core level, Scorpio also involves fixation and refusal to let go of an object of desire.  For example in relationships, Scorpio can erupt in emotional manipulation that attempts to control and keep the desired partner at all costs.  While one can give advice to release attachment to desires that honest reflection reveals are no longer fruitful, when under the sway of Scorpio resistance can be futile.  Even though we know from experience that the realization of certain desires do not bring us genuine fulfillment, we flow with the desire nonetheless wedded to memories of fulfilled desires that brought essential satisfaction.  Wherever our current desires are leading us, in the darkness of a Scorpio New Moon we can tap into a visceral feel for our inner passions.  With the New Moon conjoining Mercury and in sextile to both Jupiter and Pluto, we will have amplified ability to probe deeply into the foundational undercurrents of our desires.

This New Moon is pivotal for numerous reasons, in part because it follows shortly after the cross-quarter marker of the Sun passing fifteen degrees of Scorpio, marking the mid-point of Fall in the northern hemisphere and Spring in the southern hemisphere.  This New Moon also comes with Venus having entered her home sign of Libra and separating from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, as Mars the ruler of the New Moon is applying closely to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon.  Soon after the moment of the New Moon the true calculation of the lunar nodes will shift from Aries and Libra to the South Node of the Moon being in Pisces and the North Node of the Moon being in Virgo, ending the twenty-one month journey that began when the lunar nodes entered Aries and Libra in mid-February 2014.  Furthermore, the lunar cycle beginning with this New Moon will bring us the first exact last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune in their current cycle, as at the time of the following Full Moon they will enter an exact square.

Mercury in Scorpio is also in an important transition phase as this new lunar cycle commences, closely conjoining the New Moon while combust the Sun.  As the New Moon waxes toward it’s first quarter phase in the following week, Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun at its superior conjunction on November 17.  The superior conjunction has a different symbolic meaning than the psychopomp underworld association of Mercury uniting with the Sun while retrograde at the inferior conjunction.  In our current phase of Mercury, the angelic messenger is soaring into celestial realms on the far side of the Sun from us, creating openings for an onrush of epiphanies and insights.  As our minds can feel overwhelmed with a lot of information to process, slowing down enough to take in our full perception will help access the penetrating inquiry available with a superior conjunction of Mercury in Scorpio. Mercury uniting with the Sun in Scorpio can delve to the bottom line dynamic of any circumstance with brutal honesty, and it is likely secrets and hypocrisies will be revealed.

Mercury in Scorpio is further magnified by the Scorpio New Moon conjoining both the geocentric North Node and South Node of Mercury, as well as the heliocentric South Node of Mercury.  Considering that Mercury in astrology directs the discerning functions of our consciousness, this nodal activation of Mercury by the New Moon in Scorpio can unveil the roots of our perception and its connection to our current patterns of communication.  We can gain increased understanding of our underlying desires leading us to perceive and communicate in our current state. As the heliocentric South Node of Mercury is also activated, there is deep inquiry also available on a collective level into the shadow side of society and the underbelly driving current mass movements of feeling.

Carl Jung from his Red Book

from The Red Book (Liber Novus) by Carl Jung

Mars in Virgo rules the New Moon in the sign of Mercury, while the New Moon is conjoining not only Mercury but also the South Node of Mars.  Mars is further electrified by applying closely to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon at the time of the New Moon.  The North Node of the Moon is Rahu, the desirous head of the dragon hungry to devour our Lights at the times of eclipses, and associated in evolutionary astrology with the leading edge of our desire nature that propels us forward in our development.  As a result this New Moon is ideal for harnessing burning desires to focused intentions formed with Mercurial attention to detail and planning for martial action.  As the South Node of Mars is also activated, it is yet another indication that we can come to a more holistic understanding of our current desires, including our dark side so to speak, the unconscious influences on our conscious will force.  It will be a potent New Moon from which to launch a new initiative of pure intent.

The potency of the Scorpio New Moon to fuel expansive new vision is further seen in it being sextile to both Jupiter in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn, and by it facilitating the polarity of Chiron in Pisces opposing Jupiter in Virgo through the New Moon being trine to Chiron and being sextile to Jupiter.  In particular, if our hearts have been set upon a desire, goal, or vision for a length of time while withstanding numerous setbacks, our patience and determination could be rewarded with an associated breakthrough with the inception of this New Moon.  We may notice a lot of restructuring and realigning of organizations in our environment in correlation, and we likewise have the opportunity to restructure our home environment, work environment, and even our inner psychology.  If you have a tendency to intellectualize and rationally detach from circumstances, make more of an effort to emotionally center and be present in your body so as to attune to the ever changing moment of the material realm.  This New Moon holding stabilizing, fertile aspects between Jupiter, Chiron, and Pluto in water and earth signs suggests we can reorient toward being better able to manifest a more expansive vision for our life.

An additional ingredient to the generative capacity of this Scorpio New Moon is that Venus has returned to her home of Libra, and is separating from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and applying to a sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius.  Venus in Libra is outwardly focused and her beauteous gaze will be focused upon relationships that will support and help to stabilize the endeavors fueled by our desires.  The sextile from Venus to Saturn corresponds with opportunities to structure our environment and build a foundational form that will be able to buttress our desires for Venusian pleasure in the face of any inclement weather on the horizon.  As a result, this New Moon supports taking direct action to protect what is dear to our hearts and to create the necessary related structural reinforcements in our life, and could prove difficult for those procrastinating or spending idle hours in escapist pastimes.

Saturn square Neptune

from Spectropia; or, Surprising Spectral Illusions (1865) by J.H. Brown

Saturn square Neptune

During this lunar cycle the Saturn and Neptune square will be building each day until it culminates at the time of the upcoming Full Moon in Gemini.  Hellenistic astrology techniques suggest that Saturn in Sagittarius is in the superior position of this square and will overcome Neptune in Pisces, but there is an important additional development in the coming lunar cycle:  Neptune will station direct in Pisces on November 18, a day after Mercury unites with the Sun.  Neptune stationing gives it added emphasis and potency at this time, and the superior conjunction of Mercury in Scorpio happening at the same time could tap us into other realms of perception that go beyond the limitations of Saturn.  While Saturn may be in the superior position in its square to Neptune, our Saturn constructs of reality will be vulnerable to becoming dissolved in the waves of Neptune.

If we are carrying a dream and vision of pure heart that we are capable of manifesting with determined effort, then the solution to the tension created by the square between Saturn and Neptune will be to make sure we are responsibly attending to all facets of what needs to be done to achieve our goal.   Saturn and Neptune are forming a last quarter square suggesting that the bigger the dream and vision the better, as the energy of this aspect calls for a reorientation of how we have been constructing our reality.  The last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune does not automatically spell doom for big dreams, but it does spell doom for any illusions we have been under the influence of.  This includes illusions of being smaller and more limited than we actually are, which is why trying to play it safe at this time is not a real solution to the challenges brought forth by Saturn in square to Neptune.

There is likewise a strong possibility of becoming disillusioned with past belief systems, with society, with humanity, with others in our relationships, and even with ourselves as the Saturn and Neptune square builds in intensity each day.  In particular those who have been dishonest and cloaked in lies, secrets, and hypocrisy could be revealed.  Bearing in mind the meaning of the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune, famously called a “crisis in consciousness” by Dane Rudhyar, this disillusionment is a fundamental aspect to a reorientation process underway that in this case is opening us to the interplay between our Saturnine structures and the transpersonal realm of Neptune.  This is also only the first exact last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune, as we have two more coming in 2016.  When there is a such a powerful repeating aspect in astrology, oftentimes it is the first aspect that feels the most chaotic and unsettling.  The point is that we have a long road ahead of us involving this square and as the structure of our consciousness and belief systems begin to shift in correlation, we will begin to recenter and stabilize in our newfound perspective.

Scorpio II Decan

Six of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio II Decan

The Scorpio New Moon is in the second decan of Scorpio, a decan ruled by the Sun and associated with the 6 of Cups card in tarot.  It is an auspicious sign that the Sun governs this face since we are at a New Moon, meaning that our Lunar Light is regenerating in the rays of our Solar Light.  In the image of the 6 of Cups, we find the child-like innocence of purely giving for the pleasure of giving and receiving the joy of witnessing gratitude upon the face of the recipient.  Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “An Apparatus for Mutual Distillation” to the Scorpio II decan, as it is a face in which the desires of Scorpio interchange in commerce with another:

The parties here [in the 6 of Cups image] are children and their affection for one another is natural and unconditioned.  The pleasure signified is thus that which accompanies the expression of passion unencumbered by pretension or decorum.  It is a vision of ideal exchange between two parties, poignant and perfect.

The dynamic suggested by the children is identical to the alchemical process of mutual distillation, wherein the matter passes back and forth between on alembic and another, growing increasingly rarefied and potent. The laboratory technique of mutual distillation can be embodied, as well. A whole category of Taoist sexual energy practice, referred to as dual cultivation, involves exactly this exchange between partners. This process combines and distills the sexual energy both parties possess, resulting in a finer nectar than either could produce on their own. Though it is easy to imagine these dynamics between romantic partners, all relationships which rely on trust and continuous exchange generate such circuits (p. 180-1).

Coppock further discerned that in order to cultivate mutual satisfaction in relationships we must have trust, intimacy, and vulnerability present. Noting the image by Ibn Ezra for the Scorpio II decan, who described “A woman who has left her house; she is naked and has nothing on and she is entering the sea,” Coppock suggested that we need to be careful whom we open ourselves bare to, because the “virtuous circuit of exchange can become vicious in this face . . . the process of dual cultivation becomes one of mutual degradation, each destroying the quality of the other with each pass” (p 181).

As a result this is a New Moon in which to embrace honest communication and vulnerability with those you wish to deepen bonds of intimacy.  As the square between Saturn and Neptune is simultaneously building, we may need to navigate some toxic exchanges with others at times as glass windows of illusion are shattered.  At the same time, this New Moon holds some beautiful aspects to deepen our most important relationships with each partner opening to a fuller realization of the reality and desires of the other.  The Full Moon that follows at the end of November carries momentous, breakthrough astrological aspects, and so we are now at a key moment of inception to launch new work filled with deepening collaboration from.

Full Moon in Taurus and the Dawn of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars in Virgo

Full Moon in Taurus

Blind Minotaur Led by a Girl through the Night (1934) by Pablo Picasso

Taurus Full Moon

The Full Moon in Taurus on October 27 arrives like a temporary rainbow following a savage storm, fittingly at the Sabian symbol degree of “the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”  In the penetrating streams of the Scorpio season, a full lunation in the sign of the Moon’s exaltation is auspicious for centering within the immense field of depth and death that coincides with our solar light passing through the tropical sign of the sensitive, venomous Scorpion.  Yes, things are always changing, yet we can now add Mercury retrograde to the list of pattern breaking transits we have completed that also includes eclipses and Venus retrograde.  As a result, this Full Moon is an opportunity to find calm in the fateful transitions we can now sense, in order to discern the choices we can make in our highest good through probing deep into the needs and current state of our emotional and physical bodies.

In the Northern hemisphere, it is easy to associate the cold decay and decomposition of Fall that creates the compost of our future growth with the meaning of Scorpio, bearing in mind that in our Southern hemisphere it is the blossoming season of Spring.  The axis of Scorpio and Taurus lit up at this time involves signs of Water and Earth, signs that are nocturnal and yin, the homes of Mars and Venus where we can most acutely feel on internal levels the pang of our human desires.  Scorpio and Taurus are fixed signs that as a result are about stabilizing on internal levels, yet in the constant flux and loss of our material realm in bodies that are vulnerable to the wounds of time and disease, the desire to feel stability through our attachment to certain values and ideas makes us face the multitudinous crises of our human life.

Whereas Scorpio where our Sun currently resides has a martial, plutonic ability to focus with instinctual, psychic sensitivity into the atmosphere of any environment, Taurus where our Moon is waxing full has a fecund, fruitful inner awareness aligned with Venus.  Taurus wants to be surrounded by whatever is found to be beautiful, as Taurus is the inner home of Venus where we can get in touch with our inner values that bring a sense of beauty to our life.  Venus is the ruler of this Taurus Full Moon and making extraordinary aspects of separating from a conjunction with Jupiter and applying to a conjunction with Mars at the time of the Full Moon, as well as closely applying to an opposition with Chiron in Pisces.  Venus and Mars so close together and being the rulers of the two lights at this Full Moon means the messages we receive at this time are absolutely crucial to pay attention to.  There is huge potential at this time to feel our desires and realize whether our current actions are in alignment our out of alignment with a trajectory that will help us with their manifestation.

Jupiter, Venus, Mars in Virgo

The Tree of Life (first half 17th Century) British, canvas with silk thread

 Mutable Magnum Opus

While our two lights are in fixed signs at this Full Moon, the dominant astrological modality is the mutable as Jupiter, Venus, and Mars are in Virgo, Neptune and Chiron are in Pisces, and Saturn is in Sagittarius.  Mutable signs are about shifts, transitions, and being aligned with Jupiter and Mercury their fluid nature is often applied to our beliefs, vision, analysis, and communication. In the mutable meeting ground of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars, we are initiating a new vision of meaning from a place of inner desire and value.

The most exact aspect of the Full Moon is that the ruling Venus is closely applying to an opposition with Chiron in Pisces, while Jupiter is also applying and Mars is separating from being opposite Chiron. Chiron is a celestial body that bridges the Saturn dimension of astrology with the dimensions of astrology beyond Uranus, as well as with the wounds and healing of wounds that coincide with transitions to farther reaching awareness. While the wounds associated with Chiron feel very personal when they are occurring, potentially our experience of facing these challenges and working through them transports us to another level of being.  The triple conjunction of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars being opposite Chiron while separating from a trine to Pluto in Capricorn can coincide with an opening to core needs and desires that source feelings of empowerment if we structure an outlet or practice to express them through.  In correlation we can be shown where we need to get out of our own way in order to access this newfound dimension of strength.

The mutable initiation of a new cycle between Jupiter, Venus, and Mars having a liberating transpersonal quality is augmented by the conjunctions occurring in the sign of Mercury, Mercury concurrently being in the sign of Venus, and Mercury separating from an opposition with Uranus at the time of the Venusian Full Moon. Mercury’s recent opposition to Uranus could have correlated with insight into relationship needs and discernment of opportunities for collaboration that could break us out of past restrictive patterns if enacted. In the mutual accord and shared feeling of partnership we can access a deeper sense of self and wholeness. As Mercury opposed Uranus this past week, we likely felt the magnetic pull of those relationships which can help us activate this opening. Since the Mercury and Uranus opposition is now separating, the illumination of this Taurus Full Moon reveals what has been unearthed on shore following a surge of tidal forces.

However, in our surrounding oceanic field there is a more imposing tidal wave building in the form of a mutable square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces.  This is the great celestial backdrop to the current scene of our drama, and while it will not become exact until November 26, 2015 it has now gotten within three degrees and is at it’s closest point yet in this cycle.  Back in March 2015 when Saturn in Sagittarius stationed retrograde, Saturn was also about three degrees away from Neptune so it may be possible with reflection to notice a tie between events culminating now that are bound back to five or six months ago.

Saturn and Neptune have vastly different meanings, including that Saturn governs structures and constructs of consensus reality while Neptune as Dane Rudhyar wrote brings us messages from beyond, beyond here signifying concepts such as the boundless field sourcing our reality and the collective unconscious.  Contacting Saturn enlivens us to work hard and overcome crucial tests, whereas contacting Neptune enlivens us to dream and imagine beyond the constraints of present circumstances.  Both planets being in the home of Jupiter means this square can fundamentally alter our vision of life and how we create meaning for ourselves, with old outworn constructs dissolving in the waves of Neptune.

Venus conjunct Jupiter in Virgo

Sphinx (550 B.C.) Greek

Virgo Jupiter, Venus, Mars

The new cycles beginning now between Jupiter, Venus, and Mars deserve some extra thought and attention as they are the third to occur this year, and the final ones that will finally initiate a new cycle within each dyad.  The exception to this triple phenomenon is Jupiter and Mars, as Jupiter and Mars recently experienced their first and only conjunction of the year in Virgo at the time of the recent Crescent Moon in the currently waxing lunar cycle.  This is in fact the first new cycle to initiate between Jupiter and Mars since July 2013 when they were both in Cancer, and so we are now at the early, disorienting phase of getting in touch with the desires that will be animating a regenerated vision for our life.

The cycle between Venus and Jupiter is more about the relationship between our inner values and our vision for life, and we are now at the third and final initiation of their new cycle since the beginning of July 2015.  On July 1, 2015 Venus and Jupiter were first conjunct in the third decan of Leo (with Venus direct at the time of a Full Moon), and were again on August 4, 2015 (with Venus retrograde and also in square to Saturn in Scorpio) also in the third face of Leo.  The first of this series when Venus and Jupiter were uniting as beautiful illuminated lights in our night sky had a conquering feeling of setting out with passionate hope and ideals toward who or what we found deeply meaningful, whereas the second of the series was more of a trial by fire with the exact square to Saturn coinciding with pivotal challenges we had to solve.  Now, the final conjunction of the series occurring in the second face of Virgo will correlate with a process of refinement, focusing into the details of our circumstances in order to create the sense of quality in our life we find most authentic and desirable.

A week after the Full Moon during the waning Moon, Venus will unite with Mars for the third and final time this cycle on November 2, and we will begin to feel a resolution to relational patterns that not only stretch across the past year but all the way back to 2013.  The last time we had a completely new initiated cycle between Venus and Mars was in April 2013 when they were in Aries, and if you are like me you will notice there is a direct, palpable thread between the issues of our desires and values then and now.  During this previous year, we have had two other conjunctions of Venus and Mars, but neither was truly the beginning of a new cycle because we knew they still had more conjunctions to come.  On February 21, 2015 we had the first conjunction of Mars and Venus in the first decan of Aries, and then on August 31, 2015 we had the second conjunction of Mars and Venus in the second decan of Leo, with Venus retrograde. Similar to the pattern of the first two conjunctions between Venus and Jupiter, the first conjoining of Venus and Mars in February that we could also see in our night sky had a more soaring quality of hope like making a wish on a star.  In contrast, their second conjunction at the end of August with Venus retrograde had a more martial quality of needing to fight or persist in pursuit of our desire.

The Taurus Full Moon is therefore illuminating the final balsamic conjunction between Venus and Mars in this cycle, bringing to the forefront all past attitudes, beliefs, and values connected to present and past relationships that now need to be released.  At the same time, it is a powerful seeding and visioning moment in which the relationships most fertile for our future will become paramount.  Yet our inner relationship with our Self is perhaps most important to monitor since Mars and Venus are conjoined in Virgo.  If we are able to release the old issues that have been weighing us down that we are overdue to be free from, we will begin to feel a sense of Self that has greater integrity as the new cycle between Venus and Mars begins next week.

It is further interesting to ponder how Venus, Jupiter, and Mars are all now brilliant Morning Stars, whereas previous conjunctions between Venus and Mars and Venus and Jupiter occurred as Evening Stars.  It is further compelling to consider that all three planets are in the home of Mercury, the inner reflective, analytical sign of Virgo symbolized by the Winged Maiden who guides us to connect our sense of Self within the natural and celestial order we find ourselves within.  There is support in all of this to mentally focus on the ever changing details of our material realm and organize our myriad daily pursuits to most effectively support our bodily health and the manifestation of our creative endeavors.  Like the cry of the cock at the break of dawn, these morning lights will awaken us to our most pressing values and desires to address and act from.  There is less support for outwardly attempting to work on as much as possible and more support for inwardly discerning a few precious aspects of our life to devote our full attention to.

Taurus I Decan

5 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus I Decan

The Taurus Full Moon falls within the first face of Taurus ruled by Mercury and associated with the Five of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith from the Rider-Waite tarot deck.  The Five of Pentacles traditionally relates to worrisome thoughts over a lack of material resources or the ever threatening potential of material loss, guiding the querent to yoke their anxious mental energy to direct action that can help build or nurture resources that can be drawn from in a future time of need.

In the Rider-Waite tarot image shown above, we see two wanderers freezing in a snowy climate and wanting for appropriate material resources to keep themselves warm and secure.  Behind them like a beacon of light is the illuminated stained glass windows of a church, an institution built on proclaimed principles of helping those in need or poverty.  One of my favorite writers on the tarot Kelsey Lynore wrote a more unique interpretation of this image that focuses on the hypocrisy of the church and its oftentimes neglect of those in need, connecting this with a dire situation in which we feel a lack of support from others that leads to ostracized anger.  Lynore’s advised response is to “make certain that you uphold the very ethics that you expect from others, as there is a danger that you may take on the very qualities of those who have cast you out,” thereby refusing to be led “into a lifetime of narrow-minded, narcissistic greed.”  This idea connects well with Mercury’s governship of this face and the importance of maintaining inner mental integrity even in the most difficult of circumstances, so as to better open ourselves to the twists of fate that can coincide with a boon of new resources to draw from.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces: The History, Astrology, and Magic of the Decans suggested that it is this very fear of material want and poverty shown in the Rider-Waite image of the Five of Pentacles that propels us to cultivate the resources of our mind and surroundings in order to create a livelihood that will support our survival needs in the bleakest of times.  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Plow” to the first decan of Taurus that follows the previously martial faces of Aries:

The implements of war seen in the Aries decan have been beaten into plowshares here. Thus this face is traditionally connected to all of the sciences necessary to draw forth fruit from the land.  The plow, which breaks open the soil, is one of it’s most enduring symbols, but not the sum thereof.  In this face we gaze upon the ways that we might make use of our world.  Understanding our resources wisely, we consider how we might multiply their value.

—  Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, page 69

The first face of Taurus where this Full Moon shines being ruled by Mercury is harmonious with the triple conjunction of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars also occurring in the domicile and exaltation of Mercury.  The surrounding astrological aspects of this Taurus Full Moon therefore support us using any fears about a lack of material resources to fuel prudent focus on whatever resources we have on external and internal levels to develop.  There is support in this astrological climate to use the capacity of Mercury for commerce and connections to build bridges and cultivate the assets at hand, finding a solution to whatever predicament we find ourselves in.  The astrology element of Earth is amplified at this Full Moon and likewise we find ourselves with a symbolic fertile field to plow and plant for whatever it is we wish to grow.

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.